Gravy has a look when he knows he is in trouble. He has that same look when we have done something that disappoints him. He knows something is wrong and his face shows that he gets it. He may not understand all our words but he understands our tone of voice, so when he gets this face we know that he knows he has done something wrong.
People are not always that clear in their communications. We can’t always tell when they understand or know that they have done something to offed, or hurt or disappoint us. We may tell them clearly, and we think they understand and yet unless their actions change we never truly know that they got it. We can talk until we are blue in the face, explain it so they understand, and still they may have no clue as to what is going on.
Good communication means there is a shared understanding of something. Be it information or expectations, only when both parties understand it in the same way has communication happened. Just because we understand it doesn’t mean our audience gets it. Not everyone has an expression or look that signifies that they know what they did.
So when things do not get understood, who’s fault is that? The sender of the message or the receiver? Is it the message itself or the messenger? Could it be the method in which the message was sent? It could be some combination of all of those things. The only way we know if our message was understood and actionable is if we stop and confirm and then the other person changes their behavior accordingly. If that doesn’t happen then we try again when the topic and relationship are important. We keep going until we receive acknowledgement via action that they understand.
By the way Gravy understands all too well what he is doing wrong, and as a puppy he still has a hard time always getting it right. So we keep training him and as he grows up he is slowing getting it.